I Wish I Knew This Before Looking For A Realtor
You’re ready to sell your house.
But before you start looking for a realtor, here’s everything I wish I knew before I started looking for the right real estate agent.
Find A Realtor Specific To Your Needs
Not all realtors are created equal.
Like everything else, realtors have specialties. A realtor may focus on:
Helping track down investment properties.
Just in case you’re not too keen on the differences, let’s review them below.
Buyer’s agents typically work with people looking to purchase a home.
A good buyer’s agent will:
Have to take their clients on home buying tours.
Write up and submit offers.
And guide their clients through the home buying process from start to finish.
In my experience, buyer’s agents have a lot more on their plate than seller’s agents.
Seller’s agents typically focus on helping people sell their homes.
A good seller’s agent should:
Advise their client on a fair starting price for their home.
Recommend what needs to be done to the house before listing it.
Help sellers review and negotiate offers.
Hold open houses, if they want to, and if you want them to.
Seller’s agents generally have the easier job of the two for one reason.
Buyers require a lot more work than sellers.
Consider this: A buyer may want their agent to take them to view 20 homes before they eventually get an offer accepted.
A seller more than likely only has one home to sell, and the seller’s agent doesn’t have to be present for every individual during a tour.
The last specialty we’ll focus on is an agent who can help with investing.
The agent may help with:
Locating and analyzing properties that would make a great rental.
Or helping to find a property that can be flipped for a fair profit.
These agents are hard to come by in my experience, but when you find a good one, treat them like gold!
They can and will become an invaluable part of your investing journey.
Hold Interviews, And Pick The Best Candidate
Now that we’ve reviewed the different types of realtor specialties, you should know which type you need to find.
Trust me, every realtor will tell you they can do everything, and to be fair, yes, any realtor is technically capable of buying, selling, or helping with investing.
However, it’s best practice to find an agent who specializes in what you need.
Ask some basic questions to get an idea of where their strengths lie. For example:
How many homes have you bought in the past year?
How many homes have you sold in the past year?
How many investors have you worked with in the past year?
A realtor who has sold 20 homes, but only bought 2, is the right choice as a seller's agent.
Realtors (If They’re Good) Will do a lot For You
Your realtor will do a heck of a lot for you. That is if they’re good.
I’ve worked with several realtors over the past few years, and here’s what they typically do for me:
Keep an eye out for buying opportunities.
Analyze properties for their investment potential.
Run CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis) on properties I send them.
Take me to view houses.
Write up multiple contracts.
Help coordinate inspections and appraisals.
Negotiate with buyers.
Negotiate with sellers.
Help me find reputable contractors.
Coordinate closings with the title company.
Explain the pros and cons of each offer we receive.
Handle all the inbound calls for any of our listings.
Marketing my listings online and offline.
There are probably a lot more things, too!
I’ve heard stories of realtors who just put a sign in the yard and hope a property sells itself. That, of course, is not the type of realtor you want.
You need a realtor who is as dedicated to your goals and helping you reach them as you are.
You Can Negotiate The Commission
I was unaware of this at first, but you can negotiate the commission with your realtor.
A typical realtor commission that comes to mind is 6%, but I commonly pay my realtors 5% - 5.5%.
You should feel confident and comfortable negotiating your commission with your realtor.
I’d make sure to ask if they’ll cut you a deal on the commission if they’re representing your sale, but there’s no buyer's agent.
Realtors split the total commission with the other agent involved. It’s up to the listing agent to decide how much the split will be.
In my experience, the listing agent typically gives themselves a tiny bit more of a cut.
For example, the listing agent will specify they get 3.2% of the commission, and the buyer’s agent will get 2.8%, for a total of 6%.
If there’s no other agent involved, they are entitled to keep the entire commission, and this situation is where you should ask if they’ll cut you a percent or two off.
You can also negotiate a better rate with your agent if you use them for any kind of volume buying or selling.
If you can provide them with multiple sales, they’ll likely agree!
How To Find A Great Realtor
Google is likely to be your first stop when looking online for a realtor. Search realtors near me, and you’ll get plenty of results.
You’ll want to see how many reviews they have and their overall rating. Of course, the higher the rating, and the more ratings there are, the better.
Google maps will quickly show you where they are located. A realtor located in the area you’re looking to buy or sell is better than one based 30 miles away.
Your realtor must have an in-depth knowledge of the area where they’ll be helping you buy or sell.
Realtor.com offers a considerable directory of realtors in your area.
However, it doesn’t offer the same amount of social proof.
By social proof, I’m referring to reviews.
Zillow.com is another excellent online resource that can help you find a great realtor.
If you’re looking at a Zillow listing to buy a house, you’ll see what Zillow calls “Premier Agents” listed as a contact option.
Realtors who show up as premier agents are paying a pretty penny to be listed there, so you can feel confident they take their job seriously.
Yelp is a typical online destination when looking for food options, but you can also find real estate agents there!
Unlike Realtor.com, Yelp should offer up plenty of reviews for you to check out from past clients.
Last but not least is Facebook. Although I recommend the other websites over Facebook, it still might be worth taking a quick peek.
One of the best things you can do is get a referral. If you’re looking to online resources for reviews/recommendations, why not look to someone you know?
If a friend or family member has recently bought or sold their property, ask if they’d recommend their realtor.
If they would, you should find out if they’d be a good fit for you.
Stop By Open Houses on the Weekend
Here’s a method I don’t see spoken about a lot.
Drive around on weekends and stop by all the open houses you can find.
Open houses are not mandatory, and any agent who takes time out of their weekend to hold one may likely be a hustler.
Feel free to pop in, explain to them your goals, and see if you stumble upon one you like!
Realtors Lock You into a Contract
Both buyer’s and seller’s agents can and will lock you into contracts.
To protect themselves.
Imagine you’re an agent, and you just finished showing a buyer 20 houses.
Hours of driving them around
Hours of paperwork submitting offers
Days worth of negotiating
Then, out of nowhere, your client tells you they have decided to start working with another agent.
How disheartening would that be? All your hard work would have been for nothing.
Or, imagine you listed someone’s house, and then they find a buyer on their own and want to cut you out of the deal after all the hard work you did for them.